We Should Go To Mars, Again – Lunch w/ TED

Lunch with TED — By on April 8, 2010 at 12:00 am

Planetary scientist Joel Levine believes that we should go to Mars and you should pay for it.

About 3/4ths of the way through his talk, Mr. Levine informs his audience that all he and his team need to launch this project is a check from NASA – from the American taxpayers.  I’m doing Mr. Levine the favor of bringing his “pitch” to you, the American taxpayer.  What do you think, should we fund his project?

It’s not an easy question to answer.  If one were to make a snap decision, it is likely the project would not get funded.  We’re in a down economy, millions of people are without jobs or healthcare, and the money could be used to fund all manner of projects, such as research into “green” technology, that would have immediate benefit to people in the United States.

However, America has always been different than the rest of the world in a significant way that ought to impact one’s decision concerning the Mars project.  We’re explorers.  From “manifest destiny” to the moon, we’re a nation of bright and ambitious people who scale the tallest mountains and dive to the deepest depths.  We fly kites in lightning storms, planes around the world, and shuttles into space.  All the while we make discoveries that expand everything from our technological capabilities to our ideas about human community.  If Mr. Levine is to be believed, discoveries on Mars could lead to greater understanding about the earliest days of life on Earth.

As a Christian, I believe that God has revealed himself, in part, through creation; Mars being no less a part of creation than earth.  While I don’t believe that we have a moral obligation to explore Mars, shouldn’t we at least give strong consideration to the opportunity to know God more by exploring this mostly unknown work of His hands?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – is Mr. Levine’s a project of discovery worth embarking on?  Is adventure still out there? ‘